California Supreme Court Holds Negligent Supervision Can Be An “Accident”

In response to a certified question posed by the Ninth Circuit, the California Supreme Court, in Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation, et al. v. Ledesma & Meyer Construction Company, Inc., (Supreme Court Case No. S236765) today held that “when a third party sues an employer for the negligent hiring, retention and supervision of an employee, who intentionally injured that third party,” “the suit [can] allege an ‘occurrence’ under the employer’s commercial general liability policy.” After reiterating the “settled meaning” of the term “accident” in a liability insurance policy in California, the Court concluded that an injury allegedly resulting from negligent hiring, retention and/or supervision, may be “accidental” because the focus is on the conduct of the insured – the employer – not on the conduct of the employee.

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